With the advent of easy communication mediums and social media, one would think that emails are a thing of the past. That, however, is far from the truth. Email marketing and communication is still widely used by both small and big businesses, so much so that more than 300 billion emails (some of them spam, no doubt) are sent every day!
With approximately 4 billion email users and rising, email is here to stay. Given that emails hold so much importance, it becomes crucial for us to see how we can make our emails more effective.
How much time have you spent getting your company’s email signature right? If this question leaves you with only a vague idea of what an email signature is, then you need to spend more time on it. We tend to focus more on the content of the email and treat the signature as a mere formality. However, it makes sense to put some thought into creating a professional email signature design as this helps people figure out who you are and what you do.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is an email signature?
Apart from the content of the email, a pertinent aspect of emails is the email signature. You may have seen emails with some information about the sender/sender’s company after they sign with ‘Yours/Regards/Thank You…’. That’s the email signature.
To make an impression on potential customers and to reinforce trust and sincerity with existing ones, a concise but informative email signature is a must.
Used at the end of an email as a sign-off, professional email signatures act as an identifier for you and your company. It also invites the receiver of the email to take action with the given information. That action could be anything from opening your website to visiting your blog or social media. Depending upon the purpose of the email and the work you do, call-to-actions in the email signature can be modified.
Who needs to use email signatures?
Everyone! All professional emails (and some personal ones, too) need to include an email signature to ensure clarity for the recipient. An email that doesn’t include any sort of email signature looks sloppy and ambiguous. It will be difficult for the recipient(s) to contact you or take any action to further their relationship with you or your company.
USING EMAIL SIGNATURES IN THE RIGHT WAY
Now that we’re clear about the fundamental aspects of an email signature, let’s see how we can use them correctly.
You can find many email signature examples that show you the information you need to include in it. Elements of a perfect email signature are
Your Full Name
Affiliations (like Job Title, Department)
Social Media Icons
Legal Disclaimers (if needed)
Your Photo/Company Logo
Adding your full name to the signature can help recipients know whom they are communicating with. This is important to include before any other information. If the name is too long, you can use initials for the middle/last name to reduce the size. For example, for the name “Prakash Ravishankar Krishnan”, you can include it as “Prakash R.K” or “Prakash R Krishnan”.
Affiliations like your job title and the department you belong to help identify your role in the company. You can include the name of your company as well, bringing significance to the ongoing conversation. It helps establish trust and enables the recipient to carry the conversation forward.
Although your primary communication mode might be emailing, it is of great help to include secondary contact info like your office phone number (avoid personal numbers). Mentioning your email ID may be a bit redundant and the general advice is to exclude it from the signature, but if you have an alternate email ID that they can respond to, you can mention it.
If the recipient of your email requires more information about you or your company, the immediate next step would be to visit your website. Going to a search engine and finding the website is additional work that people avoid. So naturally, the email signature must include the website link encouraging them to visit the website.
If you are a freelance designer and upload most of your work on Instagram, then include a social media icon for Instagram. On the other hand, if you are a recruiter and your primary social media is LinkedIn, the icon would lead the recipient to your LinkedIn profile. It is important that you only include those social media profiles on which you have an active presence with relevant content. Emphasis on the ‘icon’ aspect - text links can also be given, but graphics hold the attention of the user better. Also, text can take up more space and look more haphazard than tiny icons.
Many countries may have regulations regarding shared information and you may need to include disclaimers at the end of your email signature. This can also cover employer’s liability, rights to confidentiality, and other requirements that are necessary to ensure that information is not misused. Before you design your email signature, understand whether your country or industry requires you to print such disclaimers.
Adding your photo to the email signature can work in your favor and give you some extra brownie points. Apart from adding a personal touch, it works to build a better connection with you as recipients will associate the name with a face and know that there’s a person behind the screen sending the email and not a robot! Another good option is to add the company logo. The recipient can identify which company you belong to; this increases legitimacy as well as brand awareness.
Some Don’ts To Consider
Do not make the email signature lengthy and stuffed with text. If you have many phone numbers or email IDs, do not add all of them in it, only the important one. Include only the links that you think are relevant.
Do not use multiple colors and fonts. Keep the design simple. Emphasize elements when you need to; your name can be in bold or in a bigger font, and you can highlight the information that you’d like the recipient to see first.
Consistency is important. Do not keep changing email signatures from department to department, or allow employees to form their own email signature ideas. Keep elements like design, font, color, etc. the same across the board and only change information as required.
Testing your final email signature for compatibility on different email clients is a must. Email clients operate with slight differences, so make sure that yours works across all (or a majority) of them. There are many email signature generators available on the Internet that can help you design one if you are unable to. But the best way would be to sit with a designer, understand how email signatures work, and implement them. Keep it simple, don’t sweat it. Hope this article has helped you get started!
Learn more about professional emails and email signatures in detail with our Email Pro+ program. Various modules have been designed to improve workplace communication, both internal as well as external. Write effective emails and enhance communication across the organization.